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Obstructed Signs

Obstructed Signs

Have you ever experienced a sudden surprise when a stop sign appears out of nowhere, forcing you to slam on your brakes? In such situations, it's essential to consider the factors at play. Was it a lack of attention, or was the sign obstructed by something, making it difficult to see? More often than not, it's a combination of both. However, it's crucial that stop signs are highly visible to ensure the safety of not only drivers but also pedestrians and cyclists.

Considering the Issue

When driving, we rely on clear and unobstructed signage to navigate the roads safely. However, if a stop sign is hard to see due to obstructions, who should be held accountable? According to the law, the responsibility lies with the landowner where the obstruction originates. In simple terms, if a stop sign is covered by branches extending from across the road, the owner of that tree is obligated to trim it back, ensuring the sign is no longer obstructed.

Each city has its own ordinances outlining these responsibilities. A quick search with the city name and the term "ordinance" will provide the specific regulations. While the details may vary, the consensus among cities is that landowners must ensure intersections are free from obstructions. 

Understanding the Impact

Let's revisit the scenario mentioned earlier. You approach an intersection, unaware of the hidden stop sign due to branches obstructing its visibility. Consequently, you fail to stop and end up in a collision. Technically, the crash could be partially attributed to your failure to stop at the sign. However, the obstructed sign played a significant role, placing some responsibility on the landowner.

Landowners have an obligation to trim branches and ensure their properties do not create sight obstructions that hinder traffic flow. Failure to adhere to these obligations can potentially lead to accidents. A sight obstruction, such as a branch blocking the view of oncoming traffic, can significantly impact how drivers navigate intersections.

When erecting a fence on your property, it's vital to obtain the necessary permits and adhere to regulations. Similarly, landowners must remove or avoid installing sight obstructions that could impede drivers. Building fences or structures in violation of regulations or creating sight obstructions may contribute to accidents. If you or someone you know has been involved in a crash due to an obstruction, don't hesitate to reach out to us to discuss your case.


Ensuring clear visibility of road signs is crucial for the safety of all road users. Obstructed signs pose significant risks and can lead to accidents. By understanding the responsibilities of landowners and advocating for clear signage, we can enhance road safety.

Remember, seeking legal advice is important when dealing with any legal complexities related to road accidents. Contact our experienced legal team at Young and Young for a free consultation to understand your rights and seek the support you need.

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